Myanmar president starts first European visit

2013-02-26 03:19:04 GMT2013-02-26 11:19:04(Beijing Time)  SINA.com

Myanmar President Thein Sein is embarking on his first European tour, where he is expected to engage in high-level European Union talks.

The president will fly to non-EU state Norway and then visit Finland, Austria, Belgium and Italy, say officials.

He is expected to firm up bilateral ties and discuss reform process and rights-related issues, reports say.

Last year, Thein Sein visited the US, the first Myanmar leader to do so in 46 years.

The five countries the president is visiting are not Europe's largest, but every step on the world stage involving this once most isolated of countries is carefully watched for signs of how well its democratic transformation is progressing, said BBC.

Western sanctions against Myanmar have been loosened following the series of reforms introduced since the end of outright military rule in 2011 by the Thein Sein-led civilian administration.

Thein Sein is expected back in Myanmar on 8 March.

(Agencies)

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